Buying a backpack for snowboarding can be a tricky business. These days, even a single brand might produce around too dozen different models. Finding just the right one isn’t always an easy task, but it’s an important one. If you’re venturing into the backcountry, having the right pack with the right gear won’t just make things easier; it’ll save your life. Of course, there’s no point splurging on a top-of-the-range option endorsed by some ice-axe wielding mountain man when you’re only going to be using it to carry your sandwiches up the hill – or your laptop onto the plane. You’ll be glad you put in the extra effort to find the right one when, like Austin Powers, you can triumphantly say “that’s my bag, baby". We’ve tested a varied set to get you started:
[part title="O'Neill - AC All-Round Snow&Day Women's Pack"]
O’NEILL AC ALL-ROUND SNOW&DAY WOMEN’S
Capacity: 28 litres
Pros: The larger capacity of this women’s-specific pack will appeal to riders with a lot of kit. If you’re in a group, this should fit everyone’s lunch and/or extra layers, allowing you to take turns with just the one bag. It’s well equipped for the powder too, with board carry straps and storage space for a shovel and probe.
Cons: It’s considerably bigger than the average pack, which means that anyone who travels light might find it a bit on the bulky side.
[part title="Quicksilver - Chamonix Pro"]
QUIKSILVER CHAMONIX PRO
Capacity: 18 litres
Pros: Any bag named after one of the gnarliest resorts in Europe has to be able to handle just about anything. The Pro Chamonix has loads of shred-specific features such as fleece-lined goggle pocket and horizontal snowboard carry function. There’s a quick-access front rescue compartment, making the more essential bits of kit easy to get hold of in a hurry.
Cons: It’s not really suited to life as an ‘everyday’ bag, being more backcountry-specific than most. Unless you get off-piste a lot, that’s quite a high price to be forking out.
[part title="Volcom - Basis Camo Backpack"]
VOLCOM BASIS CAMO BACKPACK
Capacity: 18 litres
Pros: Although it weighs just 500 grams, this pack is more than sturdy enough to handle the average snowboard’s needs. It’s a good compact option that should fit into the overhead compartments of the most budgety airline out there. It’s got a padded laptop pocket, and that’s not a bad asking price.
Cons: At the end of the day, it’s not cut out for big backcountry missions, and will just end up getting soggy in a blizzard. Consider this for travel rather than splitboard missions.
[part title="Dakine - Heli Pro Elias Elhardt"]
DAKINE HELI PRO ELIAS ELHARDT
Capacity: 20 litres
Pros: Elias blew us away with his part in the most recent Pirates movie, and his eye-catching pack is not too shabby either. With its rescue whistle, hydration compatibility and fleece-lined goggle pocket, it can handle backcountry as well as he can. It’s also got a laptop sleeve and a decent capacity, so would suit day-to-day use too.
Cons: While that price is great for an all-rounder, it’s still way more than what you’d pay for just an everyday pack. Only pony up that extra dough if you have to.